A guide to the best holiday light displays around Maryland

Published 12/21/2022 6:00 a.m. EST, Updated 12/21/2022 10:34 a.m. EST

A house is for sale on Baltimore's famous 34th Street, home to the Christmas lights tradition where the entire block is lit up. Longtime resident Patsy Dailey passed away and a memorial sits on her porch of the home which is now for sale.

The winter solstice is this week, so we’re all dealing with long, cold nights. One way to brighten those nights, of course, is to hop in your car (or walk down your block) to check out some holiday lights.

If you’re in, near or from Baltimore, you already know about the Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden. But where else in the state can you go for a brilliant, shining holiday display?

I asked that question in The Scan and on Twitter, and readers, you did not disappoint. Here’s a collection of some of the responses.

Temple Festival of Lights

Some of the suggestions are a bit of a hike from Baltimore, but for anyone closer by — or willing to make the drive — the displays seem absolutely worth it.

The Temple Festival of Lights at 9900 Stoneybrook Drive in Kensington boasts 400,000 lights and a decorated Christmas tree. Through late December, there are also performances including dance and Christmas carols.

Boats on the Creek

About an hour west of Baltimore, in Frederick, the historic downtown decorates every year with trees in the lights along Market Street. And in more recent years, the community has come together to install decorated, lit-up boats in Carroll Creek. They’re on display until early March. After checking out the lights, grab a drink at nearby Hootch & Banter and thank me later.

Winterfest of Lights

Willing to cross the Bay Bridge? The Winterfest of Lights in Ocean City may be worth your time. This year, running until Dec. 31, the display is a walking path that includes lights, animated displays and a 50-foot Christmas tree. Unlike some other options on this list, though, admission requires a $6 ticket.

Symphony of Lights

The Merriweather Symphony of Lights, located at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Howard County, has been going strong for more than 25 years. The drive-thru version is $20 per car, and there are walk-through nights that are priced per person.

Lights on the Bay

Sponsored by the ASPCA of Anne Arundel County, Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park is a drive along the shore with more than 60 lighted displays. Admission is $20 per car and you can get 3-D glasses for an additional $5 a pop.

Looking for something less formal?

Maybe you don’t want to buy a ticket, or make a drive somewhere out of your way. Especially not if it’s cold and you’re recovering from stuffing yourself on a holiday meal.

Here’s a great, publicly available map that has the locations of some Clark Wilhelm Griswold Jr.-style holiday lights around the state. You can filter by geographic area and most of the locations on the map have a preview picture so you can see what you’re getting into.

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